Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page Program Enables Faster Page Load Time for Customers
Bringing a new twist to the online publishing market, Google has announced another contender against the online news segments of Apple and Facebook. It is working with 30 publishers to test a new program, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages. Those publishers will determine whether Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages lives up to its promise of speeding up page load times across the web.
Currently, mobile websites lag behind apps in speed and ease of hosting images. Each time a mobile user opens a publisher’s website, the site has to connect with the server, lengthening load time. Users, frustrated by boring waits, often give up before a site has fully loaded. Frequently, they simply walk away, causing publishers to lose precious readers.
With the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, or AMP, Google aims to drastically alter that scenario. It aspires to load pages instantaneously, even if they include video, graphics, and animations. Currently, publishers limit the amount of graphics they include on their sites since slow load times and alienate readers. If AMP fulfills its intentions, they will be able to freely add videos and graphics.
The Difference Between Apps and Websites is a Significant Publishing Issue
Publishers, who were already feeling squeezed by the demand to produce digital content, now feel obligated to invest in both apps and the Web. In order to appeal to a wide array of potential readers, many publishers opt to maintain both websites and apps, each of which demands unique content. Producing that content can place a strain on publishers, particularly the smaller outfits that lack extensive technical staff.
Apps have won the popularity contest against mobile web hands down, according to a Goldman Sachs report about digital advertising. Americans spend only around 30% of their computer usage time on desktop computers, instead preferring the convenience of mobile. On mobile devices, 60% of their time is spent on mobile apps, with only 9% on mobile websites. Continue reading
News Publishers and Tech Companies are Cutting Deals to Save the Written Word
Publishers and tech companies, once considered unlikely bedfellows, have been racing to form mutually beneficial deals. Highly respected publishers such as The New York Times and Condé Nast have partnered with tech companies Apple and Facebook to expand exposure of their content. Similarly, The Wall Street Journal has formed a deal with Flipboard, the social app that gathers and displays content from social networks, news publications and blogs.
In the past few years, news publishing companies and other media corporations have hit a wall in revenue earnings. As people purchase less print copy and online consumption of media grows by leaps and bounds, convincing advertisers to buy ad space has become gruelingly difficult. The ubiquity of online ad blockers has also caused advertisers to pull back from buying online ad space. In response to this crisis, publishers have realized that the best route to winning hits and revenue has been to cut deals with tech companies. Continue reading
Who Do You Trust for Your News? Apple and Facebook Bet: Us!
Newcomers to the publishing market, two giants of the personal computing scene, Apple and Facebook, are headed toward a showdown. Recently, both companies have gained a foothold in the world of news content provision. All bets are on as to where consumers will actually turn for their news, making one of these mega-companies the publishing victor.
Facebook successfully broke into the publishing market in May 2015 with the launch of its “Instant Articles” program. With this innovation, the social network began to directly host articles from news organizations. It posts newsworthy items in a native fashion by posting them in its news feeds, encouraging readers to click on articles that will carry them to a news organization’s site. Continue reading
New Book Pricing Models May Help Authors Make More Money
Making money as a book author is an uphill battle. A 2014 survey by Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest found that a large majority of self-published writers earn less than $1,000 a year. Around 53% of traditionally published authors can say the same. Only a tiny percentage of writers make more than $100,000 from their trade.
Some authors complain that Kindle Unlimited’s recent rule changes have exacerbated the problem of low earnings. Kindle’s program is a boon to users, who gain access to more than one hundred thousand e-books in exchange for a low monthly fee. Authors, on the other hand, feel strangled by the program, because if they want their books to participate, they have to give Amazon exclusive selling rights to the book. Continue reading
Digital On-Line Magazines Have a Bright Future
The hunger for online magazines will rise astronomically in the next decade, according to several research firms. Despite the growing concern about ad blockers, digital magazines are poised to catapult upward.
Smartphones can be widely credited with the popularity of digital media: wherever people go, their phones go with them. At downtimes during the day, they naturally reach for their phones to avert boredom. Just take a look at people riding public transportation, standing in lines, or waiting for elevators – they are using their phones to search for content. Continue reading
Ebooks are a Natural for Self-Published Authors
Self-publishing has maintained a steady pace of growth through 2015. Its progress is due, in part, to the popularity of digital books, which meet neatly with the needs of self-published authors.
In September 2015, the Authors’ Earnings report showed that 30% of all books sold in the U.S. are ebooks. Amazon, which controls 65% of the ebook market through its Kindle device, has been selling a high volume of self-published books: 58% of all Kindle e-books were non-traditionally published. Published either by indie self-publishers or by Amazon publishing imprints, these writers have been able to avoid sharing their profits with traditional publishers.
Falling financial returns at the largest commercial publishers further indicate the popularity of self-publishing. Numbers from The Association of American Publishers, comprising 1,200 major publishers, show that the industry biggies have been missing the mark with ebooks. Their earnings from Kindle books have dropped from 64% gross revenue to 50%. With high ebook prices the likely culprit, the big publishers’ loss is the self-publishers’ gain. Continue reading
Even Publishers’ Supporters May Be Tempted To Block Ads
The discussion about ad blocking has reached a feverish pitch. Apple’s decision to include ad-blocking in its latest updates has publishers crying, “Uncle!” Mobile users will have more freedom than ever to block ads. Yet making advertising obsolete carries the very real threat of making publishing obsolete. Without ad dollars, publishers will lack the funding to write and produce content.
Implementing ad blocking becomes even more tempting with tools such as Crystal. Crystal, an app that’s peddled on the Apple App Store, promises more than liberation from pesky ads. This content blocker promises to boost uploading speed, reduce data use, and lengthen battery life of a device. Any user who is frustrated by slow loading speed, ads that block the view of the content, and cookies that track sites visited, can simply install Crystal directly into the browser.
So far, only 16 percent of American Internet users have installed ad-blocking tools, but that number is likely to grow to epic proportions. Even users who are ethically determined to support publishers and allow ads will be tempted by the prospect of increasing page load time by 4x. Continue reading
Do Your Authors Know Their Digital publishing Rights?
It is paramount that authors know the issues in content and digital publishing as they affect income generation and legal standings. Moreover, the number of issues is growing as more authors self-publish, open new websites and blogs, and companies assist authors with content and online publishing.
One issue for authors is negotiating percentages of sales or fees for writing in traditional and digital media. Authors might want to reserve rights to use their work for educational purposes and online. Authors have to know which rights to retain and which to acquiesce to publishers. Continue reading
Content Can’t be Created without Revenue
Ad blocking has long been a sore spot for publishers. The issue has come to the fore with Apple’s decision to include ad blocking in its new iOS9 operating system and also to allow mobile ad-blocking in the Apple Store. At least one publisher, The Washington Post, has begun fighting back.
Ad blockers are programs that block digital advertising. The popular blocker AdBlock Plus functions in a manner that some complain is backhanded: the app automatically blocks ads unless otherwise advised. Media companies have to apply to be included on AdBlock’s whitelist, which is a list of approved outlets that are permitted to show their ads to AdBlock Plus’s users. AdBlock says that it reviews all applicants to ensure that their ads are view-worthy, and then charges a fee to the top 10 percent of the companies. Continue reading